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Dr. Ceesay on Barrow’s First 5 Years: A Transitional Phase, Not a First Term

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Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, Minister of Information

By Buba Gagigo

Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, Minister of Information, has stated that President Barrow’s initial five years in office should be viewed as a ‘messy’ transitional period rather than his first official term.

“I think it’s important for Gambians, as I’ve seen some politicians going around trying to confuse the population, telling them how it’s not a norm in the African continent for the President to run for a third term. The president has every legal right to run if he so wishes, and nobody can stop that under the 1997 Constitution. And also, people have to understand, I think it’s very important for me to emphasize here; this is his first term in so as far we are concerned. The first term was a transition, a messy transition and cannot be considered to be the President’s first term. The President got his first mandate as head of the NPP this term and people should understand that and nobody, and I repeat nobody, can impose on the President whether to contest; that is the decision of the president,” Dr Ceesay said.

The Information Minister also noted that President Barrow supports term limits but emphasized that, in the absence of a legal mandate for a second term limit in The Gambia, no one has the authority to impose restrictions on the president’s candidacy.

“And for your information, the President currently is focusing on delivering services to the people. He has a mandate for five days focusing on that,” he said.

A report by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), an African organization dedicated to enhancing human security on the continent, suggested that President Adama Barrow’s potential candidacy in the 2026 presidential election could exacerbate political tensions in the country. Dr. Ceesay, however, dismissed this report as fundamentally flawed.

“The Institute for Security Studies made a purported report saying that Barrow’s 3rd term candidature in 2026 would deepen political tensions. I don’t know what is the basis of that assumption? But I think it’s a very fundamentally flawed assumption. Gambia doesn’t have political tensions at the moment. So if they say deepened, I don’t know what they mean. You are deepened something that already exist. Political tensions don’t exist in the Gambia. Gambia is a stable, open political society. The issue of the third term; that is up to the president. One thing I can with certainty tell you is that the President is someone who believes in term limits.” the information minister said.

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